Five years ago, Pastor Dary Northrop and others in Assemblies of God World Missions (AGWM) leadership started talking about the relationship between missionaries and their supporting churches. Often, the church sends financial support to a wide number of ministries and in exchange, those missionaries send out semi-regular email newsletters with a few stories and prayer requests. Honestly, that exchange can feel a little out of balance.
The question was raised: how could a missionary add value to the church in return? The answer? Go deep. Build a relationship. Offer a piece of ownership in the work God is doing in the nations. Knit ourselves together to finish the task.
For Timberline Church, we have a history of going deep as we have previously invested more than money in specific regions such as Guatemala, El Salvador, and Haiti by sending teams and sponsoring building projects. We will continue to support our missionary partnerships in various places locally, nationally, and globally with prayer, teams, and finances.
However, we have also accepted the opportunity to adopt a region. Instead of a one-time trip or donation toward a project, we are choosing to weave our mission’s efforts into the hope of an entire community.
While you can read more about the Finish movement in Eurasia here— http://www.eurasianorthwest.org/adopt-a-country/ —adoption is a comprehensive commitment that includes four pieces.
- An intentional prayer focus
- Sending short-term teams multiple times a year
- Sponsoring various projects within that country
- Financial support for every AGWM missionary in that country (soon to be seven couples)
Specifically, Timberline Church has adopted the countries of Georgia and Armenia. Geographically speaking, these nations are sandwiched between Russia to the north, the Black Sea to the West, and Azerbaijan to the East with Turkey and touches of Iran to the South. Historically speaking, there is a long Christian heritage in this region that is now predominantly Muslim. In fact, the walls of the ancient monasteries tell the story of Armenia as the first Christian nation in the world.
“Georgia with its many unreached people groups, including hundreds of thousands of Muslims, and its long Christian heritage, offers opportunities to reach the lost that must be taken. Working with the national church, we can finish the task in Georgia by making sure every demographic group, every geographical region, and every unreached people group has the opportunity to hear the gospel truth in a culturally relevant way.”
“Through centuries of persecution, Armenia has been preserved as a lighthouse for Christ in a sea of Islam. Today Armenia is a strategically located springboard from which an equipped church can launch the gospel into the surrounding darkness to spread throughout the Middle East. Realizing a strong, healthy church in Armenia can reach the nations–especially Muslim nations–in ways others cannot, finishing the task here means working with a committed national church to ensure every part of Armenia has meaningful access to the gospel and a strong local church to train faithful disciples so that Armenians can rise up and take their long-ordained place in God’s plan to reach the nations.”
– Shahan G. Teberian, Geographical Leader, Caucasus Region
What does it mean to adopt this region? For us, it’s a personal commitment and deliberate investment of our time, talent, and treasure. For the missionaries we partner with, it’s the knowledge that they have unwavering support behind their work. Through adoption, together we can help change the spiritual destiny of these nations.